SOUTH SHROPSHIRE TOUR. Driving Time – approx. 3hrs 30 mins for 96 miles.
This tour is a journey through time from the formation of the hills and valleys and the end of the last Ice Age 20,000 years ago. It is a natural borderland between the majestic Welsh Mountains, with their associated rivers, and the more agricultural English scenery.
The ample provision of water, ores and minerals and its location made Shropshire a very desirable place for many – pre-historic Bronze Age man, who left evidence of his ‘signposts’, the Romans who found that the Welsh were too difficult to conquer and built strongholds to keep them contained, the medieval landowners who settled on the productive land, to the late medieval entrepreneurs who developed the mineral wealth and created to Industrial Revolution. They all have left their marks and remains giving this tour a very varied content.
A particularly good reason for letting us escort you around is that we are locals and know the folklore and legends as well as the facts about the area. We will explain the large role that religion played in influencing people’s lives with a large number of well preserved sites of Celtic and Monastic presence spread throughout the County, as well as the huge changes which occurred in Agriculture in the Medieval period, and later the Industrial Revolution. The most southern part of this tour was home to many who emigrated to the USA from 1600 onwards particularly from Apedale and Corvedale.
Our first stop is the site of the fourth largest Roman city in England at Viriconium, which at its peak covered over 400 acres, from where the Roman Army conquered the British Cornucovii. Unfortunately little of which is above ground today, but excavations are progressing. One notable building is very few years old and thanks to a TV Channel 4 programme ‘Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day‘, a Roman ‘villa urbana’ – a high status Roman town house was erected by a team of modern builders using traditional Roman methods.
We now follow the River Severn to the World Heritage Site of Ironbridge, where we will have a chance to walk over the World’s first iron bridge and look around this small town on the banks of the River Severn.
Climbing out of the Severn Gorge, we drive through Much Wenlock, the birthplace of the Modern Olympics, before continuing to Bridgnorth, a cliff top market town with the longest and steepest inland cliff railway in the country and a Castle keep which leans 5 times more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Our route now takes us through typical South Shropshire agricultural countryside before stopping at Cleehill to see the extensive views which stretch from South Birmingham, Worcester, Malvern Hills, the Black Mountains of the Brecon Beacons and even Pembrokeshire!
We now take a very scenic route along glacial valley to the largely Victorian town of Church Stretton with its range of independent shops nestled into the foothills of the Long Mynd and overlooked by Caer Caradoc, a centre of resistance to the Romans by the Ancient Britons.
Our tour may go over the Long Mynd via a precipitous route towards the Stiperstones Range via a route which goes through countryside which has hardly changed for hundreds of years. This area is steeped in folklore and legends from a giant bull, an imprisoned witch, an army who live underground, to the meeting place of the Devil and his followers.
We travel past the remains of several lead mines. Together they formed the largest lead mining area in Europe in Victorian times. Nature has largely reclaimed the area which now has beautiful gorse and heather slopes with rocky outcrops interspersed with the remains of chimneys and other mine buildings. It provided the backdrop for Mary Webb’s novel ‘Gone to Earth’, a classic version of which was filmed around here. Malcom Savile also located several of his Lone Pine books around here.
Alternatively, the tour will continue from Church Stretton to Acton Burnell, the ancestral home of Robert E. Lee of USA Civil War renown and also pass a wonderfully restored Tudor house, which is probably the very first Black & White building in the World.
All tours listed are examples: we put together a tour tailored to your needs, simply tell us what interests you, or let us suggest some options.
Luxury private guided bespoke tours in Shropshire and the surrounding areas.
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